Proposed Money Laundering Legislation Targets Bank Executives

October 24, 2013

A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives this week would target bank executives if they allow their banks to be used for money laundering.

Financial institutions are supposed to monitor transactions within their own banks. But in recent years, companies like HSBC and the now-defunct Wachovia Bank were found to have allowed their banks to be used by drug cartels to launder money.

In a 2011 case, drug traffickers laundered nearly $500 billion through Wachovia. The bank was fined only a fraction of that amount. In 2012, HSBC admitted to letting cartels and terror organizations use its system. But nobody within the bank was punished.

Charles Intriago is president of the Association of Certified Financial Crime SpecialistsHe says the legislation is long overdue.

"There should be no reason why any class of people is exempt from prosecution for breaking the law. Whether they be bank presidents or paupers," he said.

The bill also requires the Justice Department explain to Congress why it isn’t pursuing prosecution against bank executives when a case is settled and a bank admits to wrongdoing.